Locals boost foster teens, diabetes research, STEM fair

Tina Pasto of Allstate Insurance recently presented a $1,000 check from the Allstate Foundation to Heidi Venture of The Next Door. Pasto’s Hope Chest project, collecting new household items for teens leaving foster care, inspired the grant for The Next Door’s programs serving foster teens.

To help foster teens, bring donations of new household items to the Hope Chest at Pasto’s office on the corner of 12th and Nix.


Cynthia Poole of the Hood River Eagles Lodge writes:

“The Hood River Eagles Lodge No. 2150 would like to thank the following merchants for donating to the Diabetes Research Center fundraiser:

Sheppard’s, Dog River Coffee, Julie’s Beauty and Barber, Windmaster 76, Dream Street, Hood River Supply, Gift House, Hood River Jewelers, Diamond Fruit Growers, Crazy Pepper, Hood River Liquor Store, Riverview Lodge, The Fruit Company;Pietro’s Pizza, China Gorge, NAPA, Waucoma Bookstore, Safeway, G. Williker’s, Clem’s Country Store, Pheasant Valley Winery, Full Sail, papa Murphy’s, Ryan’s Juice, Carson Oil, Bette’s Place, Andrew’s Pizza, Pacifica Outlet, Les Schwab Tire Center; Apland’s Jewelers, Gehrig’s Chevron, The Warehouse, Dutch Bros, Cathy’s Barber Shop, Flow Yoga, Mount Hood Railroad, At Home on Oak Street, and the Columbia Gorge Hotel.

Because of you our fundraiser was a huge success.”


Payton Rigert, Hood River Valley High School engineering student, and Robotics team 4412 writes: “On June 6, at First Friday, the Hood River Valley Engineering Class hosted the Hood River Engineering Fair. This event was to demonstrate what STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs are doing in the Gorge. The Hood River Valley High School just recently got a large grant to remodel its engineering and shop classrooms. This was a large part of why I started the Hood River Engineering Fair. I wanted this fair to show what the high school is doing with this money and with their STEM programs.

As I started to make plans for the fair, it evolved into a demonstration of all kinds of engineers in the Gorge demonstrating their programs. It really opened the doors and let the general public know a lot more about STEM programs and engineering in general. This event was a huge success and I would just like to take a moment to thank some of the people that made the event possible.

Brian Shortt of Shortt Supply was really the first person to come up with this fair and he spent countless hours talking to me about plans. Brian helped me get in contact with the right people and went over all kinds of details with me. Not only that, but he also went to all the city council and school board meetings to support me as I proposed our plan. That meant a lot to me and I just want to say thank you Brian!

Jessica Metta from the Gorge Technology Alliance also needs recognition. She did all of the promotion for our event. She contacted the Hood River News, the White Salmon Enterprise, the Gorge Biz Buzz, the radio stations, and made our fliers. Jessica also invited the majority of the people that came and set-up at our Engineering Fair. She really did many of the behind-the-scenes jobs to make this event great. Thank you, Jessica, and the Gorge Tech Alliance!

The one person that worked the hardest to get all of our high school projects down to the fair is Jeff Blackman, our engineering teacher. He is the biggest inspiration to us all. He knows how to make us work and get a task done on time. I want to thank him for getting all of us down to the fair and for helping me with all the details!

Also special thanks to Sandy Spellman in the office for the countless trips to help me find people, schedule meetings, and the numerous other things! Thanks to Principal Rich Polkinghorn, Andrew McElderry of Andrew’s Pizza, Marlene Nichols at ODOT, City Recorder Jennifer Gray, City Council, the City of Hood River, the Police Department, Rep. Mark Johnson and his chief of staff Cassie Kornacki, Sen. Chuck Thomsen, The Gorge Makerspace, Google, the Wind Challenge, Ross Schultz, Mark Zanmiller, Chris Ellison, Terri Martz, the high school janitorial staff, and all the FTC robotics teams that showed up (teams: 4412).

Also thanks to our sponsors, they really made this event possible: G.Williker’s, the Wear House, Shortt Supply, Twiggs, Andrew’s Pizza, Print-It and Sign Media, Waucoma Bookstore, Hood River Hobbies, Idlewild Market, Boda’s Kitchen, Tofurkey, Farm Stand, the Gorge Dog, HRVHS Wrestling, Dog River Coffee and the Chocolate Lab.

Thanks to everyone that helped with this fair; it really means a lot to me, the Hood River Valley High School, and STEM programs!”

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